Greek Foreign Minister concluded visit to Tirana

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on June 6 and 7 visited Albania and met with the Foreign Minister of Albanian, Ditmir Bushati and the President of the Republic of Albania, BujarNishani.

Mr Kotzias was the keynote speaker in an event being hosted by the University of Tirana on the importance of Greek-Albanian relations for the European future of the region. He also met with prominent figures of the Greek National Minority.

During his meeting with Minister Kotzias, the Minister of Foreign Affair of Albania, Ditmir Bushati stated:
“Of late, my friend Nikos and I have been exchanging certain ideas and we have been making an effort to move ahead to a joint programme for resolving the bilateral issues pending between Albania and Greece. Apart from our efforts to create a joint programme, I am happy to say that we agreed on a joint mechanism for the manner in which we will deal with these issues, which have now been prioritized by us and by our respective teams.

A mechanism that will meet at frequent intervals. It will be intensive, on all the issues included in our effort towards a joint package or a joint programme. There is no question of the prioritization of these issues alone sufficing. The issues are well known. We have stated them publicly to the news media, in our communication, in our communication with the parliamentary organs. All of our actions are now focused on how to find a solution on these issues.

Personally, when I compare the proposals of my friend Mr. Kotzias with those I have presented, I see that there are many common points and that there is a great dynamic for dealing with these issues. What’s more, there is a shared will on the part of the respective governments for us to move ahead. Together with the mechanism for consultations on the manner in which these issues will be dealt with, today we also agreed on a roadmap, because it is important for the range of issues – which is broad, of a varying nature and often interdependent – to be accompanied by a clear roadmap, to be agreed on various levels, so that we can start to see the first results in this direction.”

Minister Nikos Kotzias stated:
“We have great duties before us, to our people and to the whole region; duties to the stability and security of the whole region. We have major networks to create, we have energy development to carry out, and we need to develop our cultural and educational cooperation and many other issues that my colleague Ditmir and I discussed.
The solutions to these problems that exist will need to be promoted in a creative manner, through a culture of dialogue and consensus; that is, in a European manner. Because the people who think problems are not to be resolved think that the European path is without Europe. The European path requires European methods and European understanding.

This is why the proposal made by Ditmir for a Roadmap and a timeframe is a proposal that is based on the tools of the EU itself. We have to lift the heavy weight of the European course of the Western Balkans, and this is why we have to resolve the problems we bring with us from the past and contribute to the European course of these states, and first of all the European course of Albania.

Greece is one of the oldest members of the EU. It has great experience and know-how, and it will always be at Albania’s side to provide whatever is needed on its course. In this context, I had the pleasure of Minister Bushati’s accepting my invitation for us to hold a second meeting in Thessaloniki, in October, of the four states, and of his accepting my proposal for our holding, in September, the meeting of six European states and six Arab states, and also for our working together on a regular basis.”

SOURCE/PHOTO: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece